The Most Stunning Coastal Towns in Italy

Major Italian cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice are obviously the first places you should head to when visiting Italy for the first time. However, that being said, it is also absolutely recommended to dedicate some extra time to exploring a couple of smaller, possibly less-known, towns.  Boot-shaped Italy’s coastline is many hundreds of kilometers long, dotted with picturesque bays, beautiful beaches, hidden inlets and imposing cliffs. There are several, dozens in fact, gorgeous Italian coastal towns that are worth visiting.

Let’s take a look at the (subjective) most stunning towns on the Italian coast.

Gorgeous Italian Coastal Towns


Positano is a coastal town perched on the steep hillsides of the breathtaking Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. This is arguably the most spectacular stretch of coastline in the world, although Cinque Terre is a capable rival (see below). Positano is a popular vacation retreat, home to beaches, amazing restaurants and narrow boutique-lined streets.

Italian Coastal Towns: Positano
Positano: Photo on Flickr by Pablo Cabezos / CC BY 2.0


Featuring a rugged landscape of rocks, cliffs and hills, the island of Capri lies in the Gulf of Naples. The island’s main town, also named Capri, is renowned for being a favored holiday destination among the rich and famous. It’s been a resort island since as early as Roman times and continues to be incredibly popular to this day.

Italian Coastal Towns: Capri Hillside
Capri Hillside: Photo on Flickr by Diana Robinson / CC BY-ND 2.0


The small island of Burano lies in the Venetian Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is possibly the most colorful place on earth. All houses and buildings on the island, mostly fisherman’s houses, shops and restaurants, are painted in the brightest of colors. Burano makes for a strongly recommended day trip when staying in Venice—a truly spectacular town.

Italian Coastal Towns: Colorful houses in Burano


Of the three Aegadian Islands, Levanzo is the smallest. It is situated to the west of Sicily and home to a beautiful white and beige town. The water of the town’s harbor, which is filled with small boats, is crystal-clear. This off-the-beaten-track destination is absolutely stunning.

Italian Coastal Towns: Levanzo
Levanzo: Photo on Flickr by roberto / CC BY-NC 2.0


Manarola is the second-smallest, but often considered to be the most beautiful, of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre on the northwest coast of Italy. This historic fishing village is perched on the steep coastal cliffs that characterize the area—an area of such cultural and natural significance that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Italian Coastal Towns: Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy


Situated in the province of Genoa in the Italian Rivièra, the town of Portofino is a favored vacation retreat among wealthy people—Italians and foreigners alike. Consisting of beautifully colorful houses that line the waterfront, this charming town makes for a wonderful day trip.

Italian Coastal Towns: Portofino sunset
Portofino at sunset: Photo on Flickr by wbeem / CC BY-NC 2.0

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is on the Adriatic coast in southern Italy, in the province of Bari. Built on a steep rocky coastline, several meters above the water, and made up of white and gray buildings, this is one of the most extraordinary coastal towns in Italy.

Italian Coastal Towns: Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare: Photo on Flickr by Gaetano Sabato / CC BY 2.0


Vernazza is another of the five Cinque Terre towns. There are no roads leading into this jaw-dropping town—it is reached by either boat or train. It’s regarded as one of the last real surviving fishing villages in the Italian Rivièra, a downright spectacular place to visit. It is advised to combine all five villages in Cinque Terre in one trip, as they are all quite stunning.

Italian Coastal Towns: Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy


Scilla is a pretty little town in Calabria, located at the tip of the Italian boot. This small coastal town is dominated by the Ruffo Castle, a stronghold erected by the Dukes of Calabria that commands an amazing view of the beach. Scilla is also the place where the Greek mythical sea monster Scylla lived.

Italian Coastal Towns: Scilla in Spring
Scilla in spring: Photo on Flickr by @DIESUS / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Other posts by the Author

4 Responses

  1. 5 Off-The-Beaten-Track Things to Do in Naples | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Metro stations are nothing to look at, but the ones between lines 1 and 6 in Naples are truly the exception. During a Metro expansion several years ago, Il Metro dell’Art was […]

  2. Best Beach Destinations in Italy | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] beaches above. The best beaches on the Amalfi Coast are in the town of Positano, arguably the most beautiful small town in Italy. Both beaches in town are […]

  3. Exploring Drinks while Traveling: Fun & Festive Beverages Worldwide

    […] a fun, easy drink to enjoy. It’s particularly popular in the Southern parts of Italy, and it’s said to aid digestion after a meal. Limoncello is also the name of the syrup used to […]

  4. Cinque Terre Travel Guide, Italian Riviera - Go4Travel Blog

    […] small villages strung out along a picturesque part of the Italian Riviera between the port towns of Genoa and La Spezia. It’s justifiably popular with both domestic and international holidaymakers, […]


Leave a Reply